If you have ever received calls, emails or letters from debt collectors, you know how intimidating they can be. Their job is to get you to pay the debt, whether it is yours or not and whether you can afford it or not.
If you ignored these calls, you may face a lawsuit that states the company can garnish your wages, affect your bank account or place liens against your assets. These are tips for addressing a debt collection lawsuit.
File a countersuit
If the creditor has overstepped the bounds of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you may countersue and file a claim with the Federal Trade Commission. Your state’s attorney general’s office can help you learn more about your state’s collection laws and your rights. However, you need to file the lawsuit within one year of the incident.
Respond to the lawsuit
Whether you owe the debt or not, respond to the lawsuit. If you do not respond, the debt collector may receive a default judgment, where they can go after your wages, assets and bank accounts. However, you can protect yourself by sending an answer to the court and the company filing suit.
The creditor must prove that you owe the debt. Therefore, request a copy of the signed credit agreement, that the amount is accurate and proof that this agreement is from the original creditor. Then, ask the company to prove that it has the right to sue you. Then, request proof that the collection agency is within the statute of limitations on collecting the debt.
To protect and defend yourself during debt collection lawsuits, learn about your rights, pay your creditors on time, maintain open communication and keep any paperwork you receive from these companies.